Nine out of ten cybercriminals outwit PC plod

Nine out of ten internet fraudsters are getting away with their offences because UK police are unable to cope with ecommerce crime.

Nine out of ten internet fraudsters are getting away with their offences because UK police are unable to cope with ecommerce crime.

A study by information solutions company Experian found that 53 per cent of UK e-tailers which had informed police of losses from online crime encountered a lack of interest. Only one in ten reported cases of internet fraud has resulted in prosecution. However, blame for spiralling internet fraud does not lie solely with the police, according to Richard Fiddis, CEO of Experian UK. He said: "Our survey shows that online retailers either do no checking or rely almost totally on manual fraud prevention measures. Almost half said they do not use any external data when verifying a customer's name and address before authorising a transaction." The survey also shows that the majority of online retailers took a long time to discover fraud. Two-thirds took a month to detect a credit card crime, with 18 per cent citing a delay of up to two months, making it easier for the thief to strike again. In 40 per cent of cases the same perpetrator struck more than once on the same website. Steven Phillipson, head of commercial fraud at law firm PCB, said Experian's figures are consistent with evidence he has encountered. He warned that online retailers are putting short-term commercial gain ahead of long-term customer confidence. He agreed that the police do need greater powers to tackle the problem, but stressed that the most efficient solution is stringent self-regulatory controls. He said: "Ecommerce retailers should be setting up a regulatory body to take action if a retailer is careless. They should not only be able to punish the hacker in a civil court, but should also place effective sanctions on the retailer." He added that careless retailers should foot the bill if an effected consumer wished to take a civil case against a hacker. He said: "At the moment, retailers pay in the region of three to four per cent of fraud chargeback levels. They should be paying a certain percentage out of their own pockets, something that will hurt."